Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Catgirls in English Dubs + SWC Update!

Richard J. here! In honor of all the cats I've had as pets over the years and in the hope that the dogs trying to kill my last two will be caught soon, I decided to do an article on Catgirls in English Dubs. (It's okay to laugh.)

But first, a brief update on the Strike Witches Contest. The number of entries so far is low and the chances of winning are quite high, so get your entry in soon! Just click here to enter! Include your name and address, one entry per person/per address please!

Remember, I bought these with my own money just to give them away to YOU!

Now, back to the Catgirls!

What is it about Catgirls? Why are they so popular? Google gives us 220,000 hits for just the word Catgirls. Nothing to sneeze at. There are numerous websites dedicated to Catgirls and both and fan and official art enjoys depicting non-Catgirl characters as Catgirls. Even cosplayers love to throw on the neko mimi (cat ears) for fun and profit.

So why are they so popular? Perhaps it has to do with the legends of the Nekomata or the fact that many anime and manga fans worship Osamu Tezuka, who created one of the earliest depictions of a true cat girl in the 1950s. Or maybe we're drawn to them because they are related to the harbinger of political and economical doom, the dread Demon Cat. Perhaps it is just a sign of the love of cats in general. Did you know that in 2001-2002, there were 73 million owned cats in the US, with 3 out of 10 households owning at least one?

Regardless of the reasons, Catgirls are popular. And in English dubs, they require a special performance to really work right. A quality of feline virtue is needed to do them justice. Here, I will talk a bit about some of my personal favorite Catgirl performances.

First, I'll start with an old favorite.


Aisha Clanclan is an example of the more Western ideal of a Catgirl. She's a wild, troublesome girl capable of ferocious violence but also playful. Hungry for adventure, emotional and very willful, Aisha brings a lot of spunk to the cast of Outlaw Star from the moment she's introduced. This 18-year-old Ctarl-Ctarl officer never hesitates where battle is concerned, displaying strength that Gene Starwind describes as that of ten men. Aisha even claims to be "immortal" at one point, though she's probably exaggerating the immense physical power of the Ctarl-Ctarl race.


Aisha is voiced in the English dub of Outlaw Star by Selece Zan

Zan gives Aisha what is, in my opinion, a voice that will either grate your nerves or win your instant praise. She brings the sometimes childish Aisha to life in a way that many voice actors today never quite manage. Aisha NEVER sounds low-key or like her lines are just being read off a page. Every single line has force behind it, from her initial appearance where she tries to appear to be a strong-willed officer of the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire in charge of finding the Galactic Leyline, to her later appearances as a semi-destitute demoted officer to her incredible battles with the space pirates after the Outlaw Star, never do you doubt that the actress is enjoying herself. The performance Zan gives for Aisha never feels dull and ALWAYS adds a feline feel to her as she frequently adds purrs, growls, hisses and even the popular nyaa sound found in Japanese onomatopoeia. While her pitch can bother some, her emotional investment in the character is simply beyond question.


If you don't already own Outlaw Star on DVD, consider picking up a copy! This is a classic series.

Next, let's look at a zany comedy series' answer to proper maid service.


No one comes close to beating Ms. Sanada for employee of the year. Taking a scene-stealing role in the UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie franchise (they changed it from Princess due to Best Buy's request) Ms. Sanada is the Head Maid for the Valhalla royal family and a self-described lover of Valkyrie, the sometimes buxom adult, sometimes little child runaway princess of Valhalla. She never fails to squee over Valkyrie, even displaying a love for the fake Valkyrie Ghost in the second season and going to extreme measures to protect her princess. Ms. Sanada transformed an untold number of innocent girls into Catgirl Maids with her Cat-Girl Ray Gun in her first appearance and generally makes everyone wish they had such a dedicated servant working for them. She does however display signs of insanity.


Ms. Sanada even dressed up like a super hero to try and help little Valkyrie. Bringing the crazed Catgirl Head Maid to vocal life is Christine M. Auten. The performance of Ms. Auten is a combination of devotion, insanity and pure motivation to do the best job possible. From the supportive side of Ms. Sanada, shown in her devotion to Kazuto, Valkyrie's beloved fiancé' to her rampages against anyone who dares to threaten the princess, Christine Auten gives Ms. Sanada a strong performance. The UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie franchise just wouldn't be the same without her. The delivery of lines, especially Ms. Sanada's frequent moans of woe and squees of joy just work so well. Though my personal favorite scene comes in episode 8 of the second season, when Ms. Sanada is trying to make it through a snow storm and has visions of little Valkyrie, adult Valkyrie and even Valkyrie Ghost in a what is both a strangely sweet scene and one hell of a les yay moment.


All viewers should beware, Ms. Sanada will not only transform you into a Catgirl maid, brainwashed to love Valkyrie, she'll also forget your name. Still, you've got to admire her absolute devotion. Consider taking her home today.

Next up is a cat in a hat that could give Dr. Seuss's creation a heck of a fight.


Blair the Witch, identified as a target for Soul and Maka in Soul Eater's first episode is quickly revealed to be just Blair the Cat. Although she does have "a ridiculous amount of magical power!" Providing a sizable portion of the series fanservice as well as showing off her magical powers of destruction when necessary, Blair's Catgirl quality comes through in her clearly catlike nature when in her human form. While not the most important character in the series, Blair's supporting role helps to add a bit of fun to otherwise deadly serious story arcs.


Leah Clark voices Blair in the English dub and while lacking many of the more vocal components of a typical Catgirl, she delivers every line with a playful selfishness that many a cat owner can nod their head at. Blair comes across as a very aloof cat, very self-oriented. In human form she thinks like a cat and generally displays a cat's quality of sheer arrogance and seductiveness. Leah Clark's ability to deliver Blair's lines with a general playfulness and a teasing quality helps to make the character more likable despite her flaws.

Also, there is something about Clark's voice that really adds a feeling of depth to her roles.


All in all, Blair is a sexy, arrogant and relatively dangerous Catgirl who shouldn't be taken too lightly. Hurting those she cares about, even if she only cares for selfish reasons, will get you smashed by pumpkins. Soul Eater is a series that revels in it's strange magical world, consider embracing this series soon.

Last by not least, let us take a moment to remember something.

There are Catboys too. Despite even government forms frequently listing "Catgirl" as a race, Catboys do exist.


Oberstammführer Schrödinger significantly appears in the fourth Hellsing Ultimate OVA and rapidly proves to be almost unique in the series as a villain that actually survives contact with Alucard! More than that, he gets what seems like a certain death scene that actually can be a bit shocking, only to appear later with his cute shotaro face in an expression of evil glee. Dressed as a Hitler Youth, displaying a twisted loyalty to the Major and a taste for bloodshed that is truly disturbing coming from someone who looks so young and sweet, Schrödinger is an enemy with great potential. Holding the rank of Oberstammführer, roughly the equivalent of a warrant officer, in Millennium's Werwolf forces, Schrödinger enjoys sitting underneath the Major's throne like a pet. He appears in the Hellsing Organization's conference room to deliver a message in his role as envoy, flirts with Seras and gives Alucard a rare chance to fail to kill someone. His ability is self-described as being "everywhere and nowhere" making him a truly exceptional threat to London's defenders and a physics reference.

Now, if only someone could cut through the red tape and we could GET MORE HELLSING ULTIMATE!


Not exactly helping male viewers avoid falling for a trap, Schrödinger is voiced by Laura Bailey in the English dub. Though frankly she sounds so different in this role I wouldn't have believed it was her if I hadn't read the cast list. The playful and perversely cruel personality, the sheer audacity of this Nazi Catboy, are given a decidedly wicked life by one of my personal favorite voice actresses of all time. Schrödinger's evil and humorous nature are just deliciously voiced by Laura Bailey who makes him utterly irredeemable yet somehow lovable. Every moment Schrödinger is around, he gives off the feel of a content cat, revelling in his love of war shared by the Major.


Cute yet horrific, evil but affable, Schrödinger's smirk of cruelty reminds me of a cat that plays with a mouse. Fear him but respect him on DVD today.

Well, that's it for me! I hope you've enjoyed my look at Catgirls (and one Catboy!) in English dubs. Please take a few moments to consider entering my contest by clicking here and providing the necessary info! Stay tuned for a review or two before the end of the month!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Strike Witches Contest + Predictions

No, I'm not dead, just got lazy again. I have an excuse though, I gave blood recently! The turn out was pretty low. Kinda depressing.

Depressing like my predictions for the future but we'll get to that in a second.

Everyone, I am officially opening a contest to win a copy of Strike Witches on DVD! When this series was first licensed by Funimation, I made a vow to buy 3 copies to support it. (I considered this license a very bold move and one I wanted to support.) I now have 3 extra copies of Strike Witches on hand.


I'll post photographic proof of such later on. Every blog post until the contest's end will include a minor contest update from now until July 4th. This contest will be open for ANYONE to enter. I will ship to any location ON EARTH! (That can in fact be reached by some postal service.)

Contest Disclaimer and Baseline Rules:
Although highly unlikely, I reserve the right to cancel this contest at any time. This contest is open to any person with a mailing address, prizes will be shipped anywhere! Winners' names will be posted here at Blog Of A Heretical Dub Lover but mailing addresses will be provided only to professional postal staff of my choice. No one else will be told.

Winners' addresses and E-mail addresses will be erased once the prizes have been shipped. Non-winners' names, E-mail and mailing addresses will not be given out to any one and will be erased when the winners have been confirmed. Non-winners will not be contacted, spammed or harassed in any way. I am not interested in ordinary humans! I reserve the right to retroactively add new rules in the unlikely event that they become necessary.

One entry per person/mailing address.

The DVDs are Region 1.

The DVDs include both English and Japanese dubs, English subs and a commentary track. And you might even get an iron-on patch. Of course, you're also getting this:


Sexy girls, sci-fi alternate history plot and plenty of action with a healthy dose of fanservice. Want to get all of that? Send an E-mail to my E-mail with Strike Witches Contest in the subject line. Include your name and address. Also, please post a comment with your thoughts on this contest or my future predictions! There will be 3 winners so you've got a great chance of getting some free anime!

Now, on to my predictions for the future.

First, VIZ will drop the Shonen Jump magazine, leaving us with no monthly manga anthology magazines of note. I believe this will happen before the end of next year, possibly before the end of this year. Why? Well, VIZ layoffs mainly and the growing trend in that direction in general. VIZ already killed Shojo Beat and Yen Press recently made Yen Plus a soon-to-be online magazine rather than a physical media title.

I believe the trend is clearly against Shonen Jump's continued publishing in the US. I have seen it removed from store shelves in numerous places, primarily Wal-Mart, providing anecdotal evidence.

My second prediction is that Bandai Entertainment will cease to exist. It may hold up until after the new Haruhi releases come out (they recently announced Haruhi-chan and Churuya-chan shorts) but I wouldn't take bets at this point. I've been convinced they were going downhill for quite some time, in fact I started thinking about it right after they started doing more sub-only. I thought that would be a coffin nailer.


My evidence? Well, they've become the sultans of delaying tactics, with virtually every anime they've released since last year being delayed multiple times. We've seen their number of licenses drop significantly, their sub-only catalog grow by leaps and bounds and now they are apparently selling off some of their licenses to Section23! Although these were formally Bandai Visual licenses, Bandai Entertainment did more or less take over Bandai Visual's holdings when it died. Clearly these license were sold for quick cash. (To fund the Haruhi franchise or a mysterious other new license? Only time will tell!)

Frankly, I think a combination of the fansub leeches and the poor economy (which the federal government keeps insisting is getting better) is responsible. I believe that with several of their licenses being series with strong fansub communities (and thus larger leech populations) and with the drop in people's personal incomes due to job loss, higher taxes and general economic depression, they're simply destined to die. I fear for the future of all of the companies but they are currently the most vulnerable in my opinion.

While I believe they will complete their work on Haruhi-related projects, I'm not sure about anything else. By next year's end, possibly sooner, I think we'll be talking about closure plans. I believe Bandai Entertainment as the US branch of Bandai Namco Holdings, will not see the 2012 elections.

My third prediction: I have a feeling that Section23 will announce another English dubbed production before the end of the year. This is just a hunch. Evidence suggests they are recovering from the ADV fragmentation trauma, which surprises me a little (though they are still in need of outside capital, suggesting they remain vulnerable to death.)

Well, that's it for this blog post! I'm Richard J., your Navigator, signing off!

Look for next week to make up for my laziness from this week! No lies!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Big Fun Update!

Hiya dubbies! Richard J. here once again, proving that evil never truly dies. I was planning a silly post but I'll delay it another day or two (haven't finished it anyway due to teh lazy) to bring up an update.


First, a few quick Tweets from VAs info: Stephanie Sheh has finished the Endless Eight dubbing (hmm, not really endless was it?) and Kelly Sheridan has begun work once more as the awesome badass Sango the demon slayer! I adore Sheridan in that part so I'm super psyched that I'll absolutely get to hear her in Inuyasha: The Final Act. (The way VIZ is going lately, I was starting to worry!) Even ANN cares about this one.

Now if they'll just ensure a certain VA gets to come back for Naraku, then I'll stop worrying.

Oh and Funimation did some license announcements. I for one am thrilled! The forums are already filling with "why harems?" and "this is why I don't buy anime" types of posts but, hell, when do anime site forums NOT fill with that kind of negativity? Plus, perhaps the "I don't buy" crowd should consider that the reason the anime they like doesn't get licensed is that they don't buy anime.

The consumer decides what series will be licensed and as it turns out, anime with fanservice, harems or other forms of wish-fulfillment like violence and super-powers are what sells best. Why? Simple, reality sucks. Instead of spewing fan hate, maybe folks should spread some fan love for their preferred genre? (Nah, that'd require them to respect opinions they disagree with!)

Anyway, the license pick ups are: about fraking time that Rosario + Vampire and Rosario + Vampire Capu2 got picked up. I have no opinion on Chaos;HEAd, Chrome Shelled Regios, Rideback and Heaven's Lost Property aka Sora no Otoshimono yet but an excellent license rescue for GUNxSWORD. (Seriously, this show is pretty damn good.)

Also, Funimation announced English dub casts for Eden of the East, Casshern Sins and Shikabane Hime (WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG?!?)


Quoting from ANN article:

The English dubbing cast for Eden of The East (with ADR director Mike McFarland) is as follows:

Akira Takizawa: Jason Liebrecht
Saki Morimi: Leah Clark
Juiz: Stephanie Young
Kuroha Diana Shiratori: Christine Auten
Daiju Mononobe: John Gremillion
Micchon: Stephanie Sheh
Haruo Kasuga: John Burgmeier
Sis: Lydia Mackay
Kazuomi Hirasawa: J. Michael Tatum
Satoshi Osugi: Michael Sinterniklaas
Panties: Newton Pittman

The English dubbing cast for Casshern Sins (with ADR director Jason Grundy) is as follows:

Braiking Boss: Paul Slavens
Casshern: Eric Vale
Luna: Trina Nishimura
Lyuze: Brina Palencia
Leda: Shelly Calene-Black
Ohji: Jerry Russell
Ringo: Monica Rial
Dio: Jerry Jewell
Dune: Jason Douglas

The English dubbing cast for Shikabane Hime (with ADR directors R. Bruce Elliot, Terri Doty and J. Michael Tatum) is as follows:

Keisei Tagami: J. Michael Tatum
Makina Hoshimura: Luci Christian
Ouri Kagami: Aaron Dismuke
Rika Aragami: Cynthia Cranz
Saki Amase: Monica Rial
Takamasa Sōgi: Joel McDonald
Itsuki Yamagami: Cherami Leigh

I haven't watched Eden of the East or much of Casshern Sins so I'm not sure what the think of those dub casts yet. Shikabane Hime's however, I am liking that cast. Aaron Dismuke for Ouri is an especially nice surprise. Can't wait to hear him in it.

Great big con announcements to be had here though. And so far, all of Funimation's licenses have gotten dubs! As long as that continues, every one of their licenses must be treated with special care by English dub preferring anime fans. Whether you think their dubs are great, mediocre or completely blah, the point is there's always a dub for you to try and find out if you like it or not with them. You get the chance to decide for yourself if they've made a good dub or a bad one.

We don't get to make that judgement as often as we'd like. So let's enjoy it every time and support everyone who is happy these shows were licensed and will be dubbed! Even if you hate these anime, remember to be happy for those who love them!

Well, that's all the time I have for today. Soon I'll post a silly thing, a couple of reviews and info on my Strike Witches contest.

See you next time, same blog channel, variable blog time.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Ani-Mother's Day 2010!

Happy Mother's Day! Welcome to my blog, welcome to my madness. Last year, I did a list of mothers and mother-figures in anime that I liked. This year, I thought I'd talk about a specific mother in an anime with an English dub that I can talk about in a bit more detail. So I'm going to examine an anime mother in a series many fans would like to see more episodes of licensed. Chigusa Sakai from Shakugan no Shana, played to perfection by the talented Lalainia Lindbjerg.


Chigusa Sakai is a gentle but opinionated woman who displays a level of understanding of the heart and the nature of love that appeals to me. The first season of Shana is the only one available right now that's dubbed but it also has wonderful examples of this loving mother's wisdom. What makes Chigusa a great mother is first and foremost the level of trust she shows for her son Yuji. She accepts his explanations for things quite easily and gives him the best advice she is capable of giving at all times. Her personality is actually a nice contrast with the tsundere nature of Shana. Throughout the series, she always treats her son with caring and respect. Given her son's situation, her constant warmth is a comfort.


In a way, Chigusa becomes a surrogate mother-figure for Shana too. The most important scene to me that illustrates this is her explanation of a kiss. The English dub handles this quite well in my opinion, managing to give the discussion a serious feel without coming across as preaching. Chigusa's words illustrate a deeply personal opinion being shared rather than a "listen to me little girl" moment. Chigusa manages to really get across the idea that kissing isn't something to be taken lightly (and it is much more serious in Japan than in most Western countries) while also encouraging Shana to make her own choice on the matter. Another moment comes when she encourages Shana to wear a yukata for the city festival. Essentially this moment is a clear blessing by Chigusa for Shana to have a relationship with Yuji.


As Shana's father-figure, Alastor becomes concerned that she might be encouraging Shana to move too quickly toward emotional/phsyical relationships. When he talks to Chigusa, he ultimately comes to the conclussion that her advice was in fact good overall and her wishes for Shana were more or less in line with his. Having a Crimson Lord's approval can't be considered a minor thing! Considering Alastor's presumed age, his approval of her wisdom is quite telling.

Chigusa Sakai provides a loving environment and stability for Yuji, helping him to feel more human despite his situation. There are times where a viewer might wonder if perhaps she suspects quite a bit about her son's situation. Her response to his martial arts training especially seems to indicate she at least thinks there's more to it than just "she's teaching me." Knowing Chigusa, she probably saw the romantic subtext easily. I mean, she's quick to help Shana get in touch with her girly side.


Lalainia Lindbjerg brings Chigusa to life in the English dub with a voice that really helps to cement that hot shounen mom character trait. Her voice is just lovely in this role and so different from other roles I've heard her in like Yukio Washimine in Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage and Anew Returner in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Honestly, there's just something I love about her voice in this dub. She sounds so warm and gentle yet with a feminine will. Very motherly, very good.

What I like most about her voice though is how the smoothness of it feels similar to the way Yuji's English VA sounds. The two voices compliment each other in a way that enhances the mother-son dynamic.

As mothers in anime go, Chigusa Sakai is in the top ranks and Lalainia Lindbjerg plays her very well. It's a shame we haven't gotten the second season of Shana over here in R1 land yet. Even more of a shame that even if it's licensed, it might not get a dub. Still, you can at least get a taste of the English dub at Funimation's video portal.


Well, that's it for this edition of Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover! Show Chigusa your love by considering buying the set for Shakugan no Shana and show you're own mother, grandmother or motherly figure some kindess this year. Remember, we all come into this world only because our mothers love us. So long as your mother isn't an abuse monster, try to show her some respect and affection.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Random Dub Updates

Due to a combination of inherent laziness and massive cleaning duties (oh God, the horrors I've seen and smelled) I've been a bit lax in posting. Hopefully, I'll have several reviews up this month and perhaps even a delayed contest! I'm just trying to have fun while doing all of this so schedule slips are inevitable.

Now put down the torches and pitchforks, gather in a semi-circle around me and let this old man (27 is kinda old right?) comment on some dubbing news.

The April 30th ANNCast revealed some details on MB's English dubs for Kanokon and Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan! I haven't actually listened to the audio myself but the details were mentioned here on's AoD forum. Personally, I saw the mention of "partisan politics" with the ANNCast and just said "okay, can I please have my anime talk without that?" Really, unless a law will affect anime or a politician is bad-mouthing it, I'd prefer to not have to hear about anime and politics in the same article.


The news is, Dokuro-chan will get a Bang-Zoom! dub and Kanokon will get an Arvintel dub! Now, the former should remind us all that Bang-Zoom! isn't gone from this business yet and we've got several chances coming to show our support for them. The later might make some wince. I've personally not heard an Arvintel dub before to the best of my knowledge but I'm glad to risk the possibility of a bad dub than have no dub at all. I'm a gambling man, I'll take a chance of quality over the certainty of absence any day. Media Blasters may not always use the best possible dubbing studio but at least they're still trying to dub some things. For a while there, I thought they'd completely abandoned us English dub fans.


God I hope Christina Valenzuela is cast in this somewhere.

Also, I have to admit I have a fondness for fanservice comedies so I'm pretty happy with Media Blasters' licensing choices lately. As a wise person posted, even if you think another series was more deserving of an English dub, that's no reason to bring other series into the debate. It's not a zero sum game.


Oh yes, I wish I had those kind of problems.

Also in the news (well, if you bookmark Twitter accounts) Stephanie Sheh revealed on the 29th of March that she'd started work on the English dub for Haruhi's second season! Recently, she posted that her work on Endless Eight recording had started. It looks like Bandai Entertainment's needed time to get everything together, hopefully so they can dub both the new season and the movie together. (Or the Japanese were late delivering production materials or it just took this long to get ready or Stephanie Sheh is late to the new dub recording or any other dozen possibilities!)

It is great news for fans to learn that this dub has started though and to have further proof that, yes, the original English cast is back. Since this English dub is coming from Bang-Zoom!, we should pay special attention as well. What is the future of Bang-Zoom! dubs after they complete work on second season of Haruhi and the movie The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya?


Mikuru: That's classified!

Richard J.: Curses, foiled again! Sometimes, I fear the secretiveness of our temporal overlords.

Well, that's it for this random and slightly pointless dub update. I'll try to be a little more interesting in the near future. (Do you like catgirls?)

Oh, before I go, let me thank all of you for reading this blog! I really never expected to have so many followers when I started. To be honest, I didn't expect to break double digits. So thank you all so much and I hope you'll continue to enjoy reading my posts!